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Irish Limousin Cattle Society, Kilglass, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

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Background and System:

The total area farmed is 80 ha which includes 15 ha of rented grassland. This all grass farm is laid out in fifteen divisions. The farm is managed by Mr Heinz Eggert since 1988 with some casual labour employed at critical periods. The farming system initially was a mid-season flock of 350 ewes run alongside a heifer fattening enterprise with all finished stock sold to a local wholesale butcher. The sheep enterprise was phased out in 1999 and a suckler herd established in 1991 while still finishing heifers for the local butcher trade. A Charolais bull was initially used with the first Limousin bull purchased in 1992. Heinz was very happy with his progeny and decided that Limousin was his breed of choice. This bull was replaced in 1997 with a bull from Dr Roger McCarricks Pelletstown herd. The current suckler herd of 70 cows comprises mainly of 3/4 and 7/8 Limousin dams with two pedigree cows. Male progeny from the two pedigree cows will be retained for breeding to the commercial herd. The male progeny from the commercial herd are sold as yearling bulls to a feedlot for further finishing. Heifer progeny are sold to Pettits of Wexford at 15 months old on the basis of yield of saleable meat from the carcase. Suckler replacements are selected from within the herd. The farm has been in the REPS scheme since 1995. The farm is managed to maximise livestock premia available with the high rate of extensification collected. The farm area itself is undulating with elevated ground being dry but low-lying ground can be wet. A rotational grazing system is practised on this farm. All machinery work is done by contractors with the exception of slurry/fertilizer spreading. Nitrogen application is in accordance with the REPS 2 guidelines. Due to the low stocking rate only approximately 90kg N/ha (72 units N/acre) can be applied. Mr Eggert is a member of the Naas suckler discussion group run by Christy Watson, Teagasc, Naas.

Heinz Eggert

Livestock:

  • Suckler cows: 70 plus 2 pedigree cows
  • Stock bulls: 3
  • In-Calf heifers: 10
  • Pedigree home bred bulls: 2

Herd Management:

The farm owns 43 suckler quota units with an additional 35 rented on an annual basis. The suckler herd of 70 cows mainly calve in spring from early March to the end of April. An autumn calving herd is being established to spread the workload, increase the output from stock bulls, utilise grass and cater for slippage in calving dates when it occurs from the spring herd in order to save culling good cows. All commercial cows are bred to stock bulls with AI used for the two pedigree cows. Winter housing on the farm consists of a slatted shed with additional straw bedded accommodation. First calvers and thin second calvers are run as a separate group from the main herd and their calves get access to creep feed from mid-July. Bulls from the rest of the herd get creep from mid-August and heifers from the end of September when they are weaned. When calves are two weeks on creep they are forward grazed onto grass through a creep gate and get meals in troughs. Heifers are separated from bulls at the end of July. Calves are creep fed a 16% protein coarse mix. Heinz currently has two stock bulls for breeding his herd to.

Limousin commerical heifers

Limousin cross heifers on the farm of Heinz Eggert, Sallins, Co. Kildare

Herd Health:

No vaccines are used on the herd with the exception of calves that are vaccinated against blackleg. However, the use of a pneumonia vaccine is being considered due a severe outbreak of pneumonia last winter. An outlet is being cut in the roof of the sheds to create an outlet to improve ventilation for the coming winter. Calves are dosed in July with a Levamisole based anthelmintic and at monthly intervals thereafter. First and second calvers along with in calf heifers are dosed in July and once again in late summer. At housing all livestock receive an injection of Ivomec Super. Cows receive a Copper bolus during the grazing season because of a high Molybdenum level in the soil. Cows are blood sampled in October to establish their mineral status and a winter mineral mix is formulated based on results. Cows have also been checked for BVD and Leptospirosis with no problem detected to date.

Limousin stock bull

Stock bull on the farm of Heinz Eggert, Sallins, Co. Kildare

Nutrition:

The basis of the winter feeding programme is good grass silage cut at the end of May however silage was not cut until the end of June in 2000 with a consequent reduction in quality. Cattle are fed a complete diet with a diet feeder consisting of grass silage, wheat, soya bean, and minerals. The following winter diets are fed on a freshweight basis. Spring Calvers: Grass silage 20 kgs Straw 3 kgs Autumn Calvers: Grass silage ad-lib plus 0.75 kg meals Heifer Weanlings: Grass silage ad-lib plus 1.75 kg meals Bull Weanlings: Grass silage ad-lib plus 5 kgs meals

Animal Performance 2003:

  • Bulls:(28)
  • Average Age 356 Days (12 months)
  • Average Liveweight 469 Kgs
  • DLWG Birth To Sale 1.2 Kgs
  • Heifers:(15)
  • Average Age 458 Days (15 months)
  • Average Liveweight 444 Kgs
  • DLWG Birth To Sale 0.89 Kgs Average Kill Out 55.55%.

Courtesy of Heinz Eggert and Christy Watson, Teagasc, Naas.

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